Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, is a new alternative treatment for some cases of aortic valve stenosis. This hybrid procedure typically is done by a cardiac surgeon and an interventional cardiologist.
Traditionally, repair or replacement of heart valves has involved open-heart surgery, which means that the chest is opened in the operating room and the heart stopped for a time so that the surgeon may repair or replace the valve(s).
In TAVR, the diseased valve may be repaired using a ring to support a person’s own valve, or the entire valve may be removed and replaced by an artificial valve. Artificial valves may be mechanical (made of metal or plastic) or tissue (made from animal valves or human valves taken from cadavers).
Somewhat similar to a stent placed in an artery, the TAVR approach delivers a fully collapsible replacement valve to the valve site through a catheter. Once the new valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve leaflets out of the way and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.
This procedure is fairly new and is FDA-approved for people with certain cardiac conditions who are considered a high-risk patient for standard valve replacement surgery.Previous Page Last Review Date: August 14, 2019